Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Comma Johanneum and Greek Grammar

A typical Greek manuscript of First John,
without the Comma Johanneum.
            Today we welcome a special guest, Dr. Barry Hofstetter, to share a post that pertains to an aspect of the textual question about First John 5:7.


My name is Barry Hofstetter.  I currently teach Latin at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, PA. I have a B.A. in ancient studies, Greek and Latin emphasis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (1981); an M.A. in Classics from the Ohio State University (1986); a M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, 1989, and the Th.M. in New Testament from Westminster, 1991. I did further graduate work at Westminster Theological Seminary, and have taught the languages (Greek and Latin) at various institutions since 1989.
Recently I took another look at First John 5:7-8 to consider the grammatical issues regarding that text, and particularly whether or not the text could stand as it does in the critical text, without the Johannine Comma. I have concluded that it certainly can, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and with more than one grammatical explanation.

First, let’s consider the claim of Eugenius Bulgaris regarding the agreement of nouns, adjectives and participles:
“It is very well known, since all have experience with it, and it is clearly a peculiar genius of our language, that masculine and feminine nouns may be construed with nouns, adjectives and pronouns in the neuter, with regard to the actual sense (τὰ πράγματα, ta pragmata). On the other hand no one has ever claimed that neuter noun substantives are indicated by masculine or feminine adjectives or pronouns.”

This claim is so extraordinary that I once again checked the Latin to ensure that I had read it right. I’m particularly focusing on the second sentence, and there is no easy way to say it – it’s just simply wrong. In fact it’s a regular feature of the language that “neuter noun substantives” may be modified by adjectives or participles reflecting the “natural” gender of the word (i.e., the actual gender of the referent, that to which the noun actually refers). I will also note here that Eugenius does not specifically mention participles, but appears to group them under “adjectives,” since he is specifically in context talking about a participial construction. Here is Smyth:

1013. Construction according to the Sense (926 a). — The real, not the grammatical, gender often determines the agreement: ὦ φίλτατ᾽, ὦ περισσὰ τιμηθεὶς τέκνον O dearest, O greatly honoured child E. Tro. 735 (this use of the attributive adjective is poetical), ““τὰ μειράκια πρὸς ἀλλήλουςδιαλεγόμενοι” the youths conversing with one another” P. Lach. 180e, ““ταῦτ᾽ ἔλεγεν ἡ ἀναιδὴς αὕτη κεφαλή, ἐξεληλυθώς” this shameless fellow spoke thus when he came out” D. 21.117. (A Greek Grammar for Colleges, 1920).

Smyth is a standard reference, and I cite him in particular in order to show that masculine modifiers with neuter substantives are a regular feature of the language.
The first example that Smyth gives shows a neuter noun, τέκνον, teknon, modified by a masculine participle, τιμηθεὶς, timetheis. The second example has a neuter plural substantive, μειράκια, meirakia, modified by a masculine plural participle, διαλεγόμενοι, dialegomenoi, and further referred to by a masculine plural pronoun, ἀλλήλους, allelous. The third example has a feminine noun, κεφαλή, kephale, modified by the masculine participle ἐξεληλυθώς, exeleluthos. This is widespread enough that it is mentioned in the grammar with no need to list more examples, and notice Smyth’s use of the word “often.”

So the next question is whether or not there are any New Testament examples, and actually, they are fairly numerous. 

Matthew 25:32 (all texts are taken from the TR, all translations from the KJV):  και συναχθησεται εμπροσθεν αυτου παντα τα εθνη και αφοριει αυτους απ αλληλων… – 
“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another.”

            Here, ἔθνη (ethne, nations) is neuter plural, but the pronoun referring to them, αύτούς (autous, them) is masculine. The neuter substantive is referred to by a masculine pronoun.

Luke 19:37 …ηρξαντο απαν το πληθος των μαθητων χαιροντες αινειν τον θεον φωνη μεγαλη περι πασων ων ειδον δυναμεων… – “the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen…”
            Here πλῆθος (plethos) is neuter singular and is referred to by χαίροντες (chairontes, rejoicing) a masculine plural participle, so once again a neuter substantive is referenced by a masculine (plural) participle.  (This is one example which helpfully illustrates the point – one among many that could be given.  I didn't mention τῶν μαθητῶν (of the disciples) for the same reason that I didn't mention τὸν θεόν (God):  it doesn't affect the grammatical point.)

“Of the disciples” is in the genitive case dependent on “the crowd.” It functions essentially as an adjective here, determining the consistency of the crowd, i.e., that it consists of disciples. For the word to modify disciples, it also would have to be in the genitive case, χαιρόντων. Now, Luke could have so had the participle modify the word disciples, and no one would have batted an eye. It would have been good Greek, and the sense would have been the same. But Luke, writing good idiomatic Greek, instead writes the word in the nominative case, and so shows that he is thinking of the word πλῆθος, crowd. He puts it in the masculine plural because the crowd does indeed consist of disciples, grammatically masculine, and it's also good Greek to indicate mixed groups in the masculine. That’s where the ad sensum comes in. He could just as easily have omitted the genitive, written his nominative masculine plural participle, and it would have been just as good, idiomatic Greek. Of course there are plenty of examples where just such a thing occurs. Here's another example also using the word “crowd” and a qualifying genitive:

            Acts 5:16 συνηρχετο δε και το πληθος των περιξ πολεων εις ιερουσαλημ φεροντες ασθενεις... – “There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks.”
            Here crowd is modified by the masculine plural participle φέροντες, bringing. The qualifying genitive phrase “out of the cities round about Jerusalem,” is actually feminine, since “cities,” πόλεων, is a grammatically feminine word.

Here’s a slightly different type of example to show that it’s not peculiar to having a crowd and a genitive plural:
            Rom 2:14 οταν γαρ εθνη τα μη νομον εχοντα φυσει τα του νομου ποιη ουτοι νομον μη εχοντες εαυτοις εισιν νομος – “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.”
            In this case “Gentiles” is neuter plural, and the pronoun referring back to them, “these” is masculine plural. There is no qualifying genitive to offer any confusion.

Now let’s consider what Eugenius said:  “On the other hand no one has ever claimed that neuter noun substantives are indicated by masculine or feminine adjectives or pronouns.” His claim does not appear to be borne out by the facts of the language. More examples may be culled from the New Testament text, but these will suffice.
So now that we have determined that neuter substantives may be modified by masculine modifiers as the sense indicates to the author of the text, we have removed one of the major objections to the text of First John 5:7-8 as it stands in the critical text. If, as many have argued, the writer of First John was thinking of the witnesses as personified, it would be perfectly acceptable for him to use a masculine modifier to refer to the three witnesses, even though technically grammatically neuter.

            Eugenius is apparently the source of much of the grammatical speculation [spread by writers such as Robert Dabney and Thomas Holland  JSJ] about First John 5:7-8 that has circulated.  In what follows, I shall suggest that there is a fairly simple alternative. As before, Greek quotations from New Testament texts are taken from the Textus Receptus to forestall the objection that there is some sort of text-critical difficulty that, in the mind of the King-James-Onlyist, will invalidate the argument; likewise English quotations from the New Testament will be taken from the KJV.  After that, I will present a more detailed response to Eugenius’ argument.
            Have a look at First John 5:8:

και τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες εν τη γη το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν. – “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

Now, a bit of a grammar lesson, to help folks better understand the argument. “That bear witness” in English is actually a relative clause, but in Greek it’s a participle. A part of what? A participle. Participle comes from the Latin “to have a share in” and what participles do is share in the qualities of both an adjective and a verb – they are verbal adjectives. Another thing that adjectives get to do from time to time is to pretend to be nouns. We do this with proverbial statements in English, “The good die young” or “The poor shall always be with you.” The latter example shows that Greek does it too, since it’s a quotation from the New Testament. In Greek (and Latin) it’s done much more frequently, and not just with proverbial statements. 
Greek does this most often by planting a definite article in front of the adjective or participle. That’s the syntax of “there are three that bear witness.” It is a substantive participle, standing in where one might expect a noun instead. Had the author written οἱ μαρτύρες, “witnesses,” it would mean essentially the same thing, the difference being that the participle describes the referent in terms of the action inherent in the verb. Greek does this all the time, such as at John 3:16, “everyone who believes” is actually a substantive phrase parallel to “three who bear witness.”
Now, why is this important? It means that the substantive functions more like a noun than like an adjective. That means it does not modify another noun (or nouns) in the sentence, but gets its number and gender from its understood antecedent, and its case from how it is used in the sentence. There is therefore no need for it to agree with anything in the sentence. Here, the author is clearly thinking of “witnesses, those who give witness.” 
Notice also that “the spirit, and the water, and the blood” all have the definite article. This not only suggests that they are discrete elements, but that they are to be associated with the subject and with each other without being the same as each other. They are three different types of witnesses. Instead of the participle modifying them, they stand in apposition with the substantive participle. They are the particular examples of the witnesses. Since the substantive is acting as a noun, there is no need for “grammatical concord” between the substantive participle and the nouns which stand in apposition to it. It does not matter that “those who give witness” is masculine and that the three nouns are neuter.
Are there other examples of this? Actually there are many throughout Greek literature, but two stand out in the New Testament:

Matthew 23:23:  τα βαρυτερα του νομου την κρισιν και τον ελεον και την πιστιν – the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”

            Here, we have an adjectival substantive which is in Greek neuter plural, “the weightier matters,” which is then particularized by three nouns in apposition, law, which is masculine, mercy, which is feminine, and faith, also feminine.

● First John 2:16:  οτι παν το εν τω κοσμω η επιθυμια της σαρκος και η επιθυμια των οφθαλμων και η αλαζονεια του βιου – “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”
“All that is in the world” is a neuter substantive phrase that is then particularized by three nouns in the feminine, lust (twice) and pride.
            Why didn’t Eugenius, whose Greek was supposed to be so good, come up with this? I believe that he was so strongly theologically motivated to keep the “received text” here that he either did not see any other grammatical options, or that he deliberately ignored them. This then set the tone for the 19th-century apologists who similarly desired to protect the text. 
            In conclusion:  the fact ought to be accepted that masculine adjectives/pronouns/participles can and do modify neuter substantives, in plain contradiction to Eugenius' claim.



            I have demonstrated that neuter substantives can indeed by modified by masculine modifiers, contrary to Eugenius’ claim. I have also suggested that “the three bearing witness” is treated as a substantive, and thus there is no need for it to modify the three neuter nouns, since they stand in apposition. Here I hope to show that Eugenius’ argument is really the claim that the three neuter nouns are personalized through their association with the Trinity, and thus the masculine participle is repeated. This is really the argument that many modern commentators use – the difference being that they see no need for added text. For Eugenius, the added text is what forces the spirit, the water and the blood to be taken as earthly representatives of the heavenly witnesses. 
            From my translation of the Latin excerpt from Eugenius:
           What reason can therefore be given for this failure to comply with the rule? It can only be the expression of the preceding 7th verse, which through the immediately following 8th verse is set forth symbolically and obviously restated, an allusion made to that which precedes. Therefore the three who give witness in heaven are first placed in the 7th verse, τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες εν τω ουρανω ο πατηρ ο λογος και το αγιον πνευμα και ουτοι οι τρεις εν εισιν. Then immediately the very same three witnesses are brought in, to confirm on earth the same witness, through these three symbols, in vs. 8: και τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες εν τη γη το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν. And so our Evangelist might say “They are the same as those giving witness in heaven.” This is sufficiently indicated through the particle καί, the force of which here is not simply connective but plainly identifying. [At this point, Eugenius shifts to Greek]
Concerning what was said in the text [perhaps = manuscript] above, clearly the Father, the Word and the Spirit. These are the ones giving witness also on the earth, and they are made manifest to us through symbols. These symbols are the spirit, through which the Father is revealed, the blood, through which the Son is revealed, and the water, through which the Holy Spirit is revealed. But these three, who above by way of revelation through the divine names themselves are presented as giving witness in heaven, are the same on earth through remembrance in the divine plan presented repeatedly by way of symbols.

Eugenius refers to the three earthly witnesses as “symbols,” a word which develops quite a technical sense in the centuries following the writing of the NT as “that which represents divine truth in another format” (so the word is used of creeds and confessions). Here, however, Eugenius seems to use it not in that technical sense but much the way we use the word in English, as that which represents something else. Tantalizingly, he does not tell us what he thinks these symbols actually are, although his Greek Orthodox provenance might indicate a Eucharistic interpretation. 
The important point here, however, is that Eugenius sees these earthly witnesses as essentially the same as the heavenly witnesses. The question here is whether the heavenly witnesses need to be there in the text. I would suggest not. John simply needs to be thinking of the witnesses as those who actively give witness, οἱ μαρτύρες, “the witnesses.”
Did John in fact intend a Trinitarian allusion? Given the way he expresses himself both in this epistle and in his gospel concerning the Father, Son and Holy Spirit I personally think it’s quite likely, although impossible to prove definitively. Eugenius in principle then simply uses a variety of the personification argument, that the assumed natural gender of “witnesses” would be masculine. Note, however, that the argument is one which is heavily theological, and not really grammatical.
Now, several 19th-century apologists for the added text have taken Eugenius’ argument to be primarily grammatical, and seen it under the category of grammatical attraction, that the second expression is overwhelmed, as it were, by the previous and so naturally becomes masculine rather than the expected neuter. Although there is grammatical attraction in Greek, it usually works with pronouns, and especially in relative clauses. It would be highly unusual to see such an attraction between two parallel clauses. In this analysis of attraction in grammatical concords, there is nothing at all related to any kind of grammatical attraction between parallel clauses, and rightly so, since there are no such examples in the language.  The argument that this is a special, one of kind case is simply special pleading. Languages just don’t work that way.

            In addition, consider the following comment from Meyer:

τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες] The masculine is used because the three that are mentioned are regarded as concrete witnesses (Lücke, etc.), but not because they are “types of men representing these three” (Bengel),[313] or symbols of the Trinity (as they are interpreted in the Scholion of Matthaei, p. 138, mentioned in the critical notes). It is uncertain whether John brings out this triplicity of witnesses with reference to the well-known legal rule, Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16, etc., as several commentators suppose. It is not to be deduced from the present that ὕδωρ and αἷμα are things still at present existing, and hence the sacraments, for by means of the witness of the Spirit the whole redemptive life of Christ is permanently present, so that the baptism and death of Jesus – although belonging to the past – prove Him constantly to be the Messiah who makes atonement for the world (so also Braune). The participle οἱ μαρτυροῦντες, instead of the substantive οἱ μάρτυρες, emphasizes more strongly the activity of the witnessing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Luke 24:13: Do You Know the Way to Emmaus?

Codex Sinaiticus (c. 350) (replica)
            How far was the village of Emmaus from the city of Jerusalem?  Sixty stadia (the equivalent of approximately 6.9 modern miles, reckoning one Roman stadium as 607 feet) or 160 stadia (the equivalent of approximately 18.4 modern miles)?
            Almost all existing Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke, including Papyrus 75 and Codex Vaticanus, state in 24:13 that the distance was 60 stadia.  In Codex Sinaiticus, however, and some other manuscripts (including Codex Cyprius (017)), and in Armenian manuscripts and in the Palestinian Syriac version, the distance is said to be 160 stadia.    
            Let’s take a look at the evidence listed for each variant in the fourth edition of the UBS Greek New Testament:
            ἑξήκοντα (sixty):  P75 A B D L W Δ Ψ 070 f1 f13 28 33vid 157 180 205 565 579 597 700 892 1006 1010 1071 1241 1243 1292 1342 1424 1505 Byz [E F G H] Lect ita, aur, b, c, d, f, ff2, l vg syrc, s, p, h copsa, bo  eth slav Augustine
            ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα (160):  À Nvid Θ 079vid vgmss syrpal arm geo Jerome
            (There is also an entry for ἑπτά (seven), attested in ite (i.e., Codex Palatinus) but this very probably represents a copyist’s incomplete attempt to convert the measurement from 60 stadia to seven Roman miles; it is thus indirect support for ἑξήκοντα.)

            The second edition of the UBS GNT had a little more data:  Codex Π (041) and minuscule 1079* are listed as witnesses for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, and a corrector of 1079 is listed as a witness for ἑξήκοντα. 
Codex Cyprius (K) - ἑκατὸν has been erased.
Swanson confirms that Codex Π supports ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα. Codex K (Cyprius, 017) supports ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, but someone has attempted to erase the word ἑκατὸν.  And in Codex N (022, one of the Purple Uncials, from the mid-500s), the word ἑκατὸν was written by the copyist, but its letters were crossed out and marked for deletion by a corrector.  (The apparatus should therefore list N for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα and N2 (a corrector of the manuscript) for ἑξήκοντα.)  The little-known uncial 0211 is listed by Hikmat Kashouh in The Arabic Versions of the Gospels (Appendix, p. 495) as support for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, and so are minuscule 1604 and two important copies of the Harklean Syriac (Vat. Syr. 267 and Vat. Syr. 268).  Kashouh (if I understand his references correctly) also notes that Family B of the Arabic Gospels supports ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα.   The three Arabic manuscripts that constitute Family B are all part of the New Finds collection at St. Catherine’s Monastery:  Ar. N.F. Parch 8,28; Ar. N.F. Parch 24; Ar. N.F. Parch 44.  Ar. N. F. Parch 8,28 (two parts of what was once one codex) has been assigned to the 700s-800s.
Minuscule 114 - ἑκατὸν has been erased.
            Also, although 079 is assigned a “vid” qualification in the UBS4 apparatus (meaning that the editors are unsure whether it really has this reading), in Tischendorf’s transcript of the manuscript there seems to be no expression of doubt about it, and even if the script were unclear, space-considerations seem to require it. 
            And, in the apparatus on page 464 of Horner’s The Coptic Version of the New Testament in the Southern Dialect (Otherwise Called the Sahidic and Thebaic), Volume II:  The Gospel of Luke (1911), in addition to the uncials already mentioned, the author lists the Greek minuscules 158 175mg 223* 237* and 420* as support for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα.  He also mentions that an Armenian copy refers to 150 stadia rather than 60 or 160.
Minuscule 265
Among the hundreds of Greek manuscripts that support ἑξήκοντα are Codex M, Codex S (in which a note in the margin says “milia h,” that is, eight miles.), Codex X, Codex Y, 5, 11, 22, 45, 72, 116, 137, 162, 178, 389, 645, 714, 716, 817, 11521186, 1187, 1200, 1216, 1263, 1318, 1358, 1364, 1691, 1780, 2099, 2121, 2123, 2304, 2322, 2612 (on page-view 473), 2615 (on page-view 373), 2757 (on page-view 413), 2812, and Lectionary 37 and  Lectionary 150 and Lectionary 300 (all confirmed by consultation of digital page-views). 
            Although minuscules 114 and 265 are not listed in the UBS apparatus, they both support ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, and so does 1219*.  The Nestle-Aland (27th edition) apparatus also lists Lectionary 844 and Lectionary 2211 in favor of ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα.
            Papyrus 75’s testimony is unusual:  instead of writing ἑξήκοντα out in full, its scribe used the Greek numeral Ξ, overlined, to represent sixty.   
            The Palestinian Aramaic (represented by “Syrpal” in the apparatus) is constituted by the three manuscripts consulted by Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson in their 1899 transcription; they note that in Luke 24:13, “All add ἑκατὸν καὶ before ἑξήκοντα.”  Colophons in these three manuscripts establish their production-dates in 1030 (for Aramaic MS A, at the Vatican Library), in 1104 (for Aramaic MS B), and in 1118 (for Aramaic MS C). 
Minuscule 1219
            The Gothic manuscript Codex Argenteus is not extant in the Gospel of Luke beyond 20:46.  However, the small Latin-Gothic fragment known as Codex Gissensis (destroyed in 1945, but photographed) may provide the grounds for a calculated guess that the Gothic version supports the reading ἑξήκοντα.  A reconstruction of the Gothic text of Codex Gissensis by Magnus Snaedel indicates that the line on which the number of stadia was written did not have room for the reading “one hundred and sixty stadia,” if the sum was written in full rather than represented with numerals.  
Minuscule 72, supporting the majority reading.
          This interesting textual contest is not mentioned in footnotes in the ESV, CSB, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, or even the NET.  It was, however, mentioned in a footnote in the NRSV.  In 1881, this was one of the readings selected for special attention in Hort’s Notes on Select Readings.  All major English versions reflect the reading ἑξήκοντα.  
            Let’s take a few minutes to explore the context of this variant-unit.
            In Luke 24, the two travelers, after meeting their resurrected Lord on the road to Emmaus, make the journey back to Jerusalem to share the good news about the resurrection of Jesus with their fellow disciples.  If the distance was seven miles, the travelers could reach Jerusalem in an hour and 10 minutes, running at six miles per hour.  At a slower rate – four miles an hour – they would still reach Jerusalem in an hour and 45 minutes.
             What if the distance was 160 stadia – approximately 18.4 modern miles?  This would imply that the two travelers, having already walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus, would thus cover a total of 36.8 miles in a single day.)  Metzger considered this “too far for the travelers to have re-traversed that same evening.”  Plummer stated that “It is absurd to suppose that these two walked about 20 miles out, took their evening meal, walked 20 miles back, and arrived in time to find the disciples still gathered together and conversing.” 
            However, if both travelers were reasonably healthy, and they started the 18.4 mile trip back to Jerusalem at 6:00 – for before their meal began, one of them observed that “It is nearly evening and the day is far spent" (Luke 24:29b, MEV) – then at a steady pace of four and a half miles per hour, they would reach Jerusalem slightly after 10:00 p.m.  At a steady pace of four miles an hour, they would arrive in Jerusalem at about 10:40 p.m.  Such a feat might have been challenging, but it would be by no means incredible or miraculous or absurd. 

The Echternach Gospels
            As we look further into this contest, it might be helpful to have some background information about the city of Nicopolis, which is presently known as Amwas, about 18 miles west-by-northwest of Jerusalem (not to be confused with the Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, mentioned by Paul in Titus 3:12).  This was the site of an important battle that took place in the Maccabean revolt, and is mentioned in the apocryphal book of First Maccabees (3:40).   
            In 4 B.C., after the Roman army had to stop some violent riots following the death of Herod the Great, the Roman general Quintilius Varus burnt Nicopolis.  (This was, by the way, the same Quintilius Varus who led three Roman legions to a catastrophic defeat in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in A.D. 9.)  Over two centuries later, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus (r. 218-222, followed by Severus Alexander (r. 222-235)), the emperor granted a request to rebuild the city.  The group of citizens making this request was led by a resident of Nicopolis named Julius Africanus. 
Codex Fuldensis (546)
Julius Africanus was a Christian author, and his activities were later summarized by Jerome in Lives of Illustrious Men, chapter 63:  “in the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose reign followed that of Macrinus, he received a commission to restore the city of Emmaus, which afterwards was called Nicopolis.”  Julius Africanus’ work on the harmonization of the genealogies of Christ and his Chronography were thoroughly digested by later writers, and a fragment of his multi-volume Kestoi is preserved in a papyrus found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt which must have been made very close to the composition-date of that work.  At some point, probably in the 230s, Julius Africanus corresponded with the controversial theologian Origen; earlier in the 200s they had both studied in Alexandria, Egypt; later Origen’s headquarters in Caesarea were not far from Nicopolis. 
The Lindisfarne Gospels
            Anyway:  following the efforts of Julius Africanus to revive the fortunes of Nicopolis, the city became popularly identified as the site of Emmaus.  The church at Nicopolis grew so much that by the 300s, the congregation at Nicopolis was worthy of having its bishop, named Peter, attend the Council of Nicea.  When Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, wrote his Onomasticon – a sort of dictionary of the names of various locations, explaining their meanings and background (something like the Dindshenchas) – he wrote the following entry for Nicomedia:
            “Emmaous:  home of Cleopas who is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke.  It is now Nicopolis, a famous city of Palestine.”
            About a century later, the scholar Jerome mentioned Emmaus, in Epistle 108, To Eustochium, as he described the sites visited by Paula during her pilgrimage in the Holy Land:  after visiting Joppa, “Again resuming her journey, she came to Nicopolis, once called Emmaus, where the Lord became known in the breaking of bread, an action by which He dedicated the house of Cleopas as a church.”  Jerome had read Eusebius’ Onomasticon, and had translated it into Latin, so it is not surprising that he, too, identified Nicopolis as Emmaus.

           Yet, in 383, when Jerome translated the Vulgate Gospels, he retained the reference to sixty stadia rather than 160 in Luke 24:13.  Or did he?  The textual apparatus for the UBS Greek New Testament lists the Vulgate as a witness for the reading “sixty stadia,” but “Vulgate manuscripts” are also listed as support for the reading “160 stadia.”  The manuscripts referred to are no trivialities; they include
            Codex Fuldensis (produced in 546) (cf. 174r.)
            The Lindisfarne Gospels (early 700s) and
            The Echternach Gospels (800s).
            Considering that no Old Latin manuscripts support “160,” it is rather tempting to conclude that the Vulgate initially read “160” in Luke 24:13.  The Book of Birr, however, supports “sixty,” written as LX.  The Wigbald Gospels (Barb. Lat 570 at the Vatican Library) supports “sixty.”  VL 12, also known as Codex Claromontanus (the other Claromontanus, that is, Vat. Lat. 7223) reads sexaginta.  So do Vat. Lat 43, Regin. Lat. 4 at the Vatican Library, Pal. Lat. 47 at the Vatican Library (as “LX”), Lat. 262 at the National Library of France (as “LX”), Harley MS 1775 at the British Library (as “‧LX‧”), Codex Aureus (BSB Clm 14000), Cotton MS Tiberius A II at the British Library, MS 286 at Corpus Christi College, and Codex Guelf. 61 Weiss.  However, Dombibl. 13 at Köln, Germany supports centum sexaginta, although the word centum has been partially erased.

            Eusebius and Jerome both accepted the idea that Emmaus and Nicopolis were the same place.  Possibly they inherited that idea from an earlier writer, namely Origen, who assumed that the site of the Maccabean Battle of Emmaus was the same place mentioned in Luke 24:13.  This is suggested by a note that appears in the margin of minuscule 34.               
Minuscule 34
            The text of Luke 24:13 in minuscule 34 is not exceptional; once the contraction of the word “Jerusalem” is taken into account, it reads exactly like the text of the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform.  In the far left margin, though, there is a neatly written note, clearly connected to Luke 24:13 by means of a mark that appears both beside the note and about the word σταδιους in the text.  (The mark resembles an umlaut with a small jagged line below it.)  This note runs as follows:
            ἑκατὸν ἑξη
            κοντα λεκτε[ον]
            ουτω γαρ τα α
            κριβη περι εχου
            κ[αι] η τῆς Ωρ. αληθ                           
            βεβαιωσις : – 
The “Ωρ.” is written with a lighter touch than the rest of the text.  (The same abbreviation appears at various places in the margin of Codex Vaticanus.)
            The note means, “One hundred and sixty:  for this reading is in the accurate [copies] and Origen truly (figuring that “αληθ” is a contraction for αληθειας) confirms it” (or, “Origen confirms that it is true”).  A similar note appears in minuscule 194 (on fol. 188v). 

            Thus the evidence for the reading “160 stadia” not only goes back to Sinaiticus in the mid-300s, and to Eusebius in the early 300s, but – assuming that the author of the note in minuscules 34 and 194 was not confused about the source of the statement about the reading “160 stadia” – goes back to Origen in the first half of the 200s. 
It would not be difficult at all for an interpreter such as Origen, once he was convinced that Nicopolis and Emmaus were the same location, even if he possessed exemplars that read “sixty stadia,” to leap to the conclusion that an earlier copyist had accidentally skipped over the word ἑκατὸν, and thus created the reading “sixty stadia.”  In Greek, such an error can be made due to homoioarcton (in this case, two words – κατὸν ξήκοντα – begin with the same letter); in Latin it is possible due to homoioteleuton (in this case, two words – stadiorum centum – end with the same two letters).
Some additional data comes to us from the writers Hesychius of Jerusalem, Cyril of Alexandria, Sozomen, Philip of Side, Theodosius the Archbishop, and Abba Gelasios; their testimony can be found at the meticulously researched website .   They all equate Nicopolis and Emmaus as one and the same place. 
Hesychius, in particular, seems to take for granted that it was a long way from Emmaus to Jerusalem, telling his readers that they should not be surprised that the two travelers managed to go from Jerusalem to Emmaus and then from Emmaus to Jerusalem, on the grounds that the statement that it was “toward evening” can mean (he says) that it was just one o’clock in the afternoon.  Since Hesychius resided in Jerusalem it can probably be safely assumed that he regarded Nicopolis and Emmaus as the same place – and this is why he made this additional point. 
Cyril of Alexandria, in the course of commenting on Luke 24:33, apparently felt obligated to circumvent the natural flow of the text, positing a chronological gap between the first and second halves of the verse:  “It was not at this hour that they found the eleven gathered, and that they gave them the news about the Lord Jesus, but this took place on the fortieth day after His resurrection, on which day He was taken up.”  This creative interpretation removes the need for speed on the part of the two travelers in order for them to reach Jerusalem while the main group of disciples was still gathered together.
            A comment with similar wording is recorded in Cramer’s Catena, Volume 2, on page 172, runs as follows, attached to the words “Having risen at the same hour, they returned to Jerusalem” in Luke 24:33.  It says:  “That is to say, that at the very hour that their Lord, Jesus, made Himself invisible to their eyes, they returned, not seeing Him any longer.  It was not at this hour that they found the Eleven gathered, and that they gave them the news about the Lord Jesus, but this was after a few hours, after the hours necessary for someone walking to cover the distance of 60 (or in one manuscript, 160 [at this point Cramer has ἑξήκοντα in the main text, but in a note, ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα Cod.] stadia, as all the while the Master also appeared to Simon.”    
            Although the wording of this comment is similar to Cyril’s, the idea being proposed is entirely different.  If the comment does not belong to Cyril then at least it demonstrates someone’s awareness of the “160 stadia” reading.  

Codex Bezae
Alongside all that, there is the unusual testimony of Codex Bezae to consider.  The Western text of Luke 24 is very different from other forms, mainly by its non-inclusion of several phrases and verses, such as verse 12.  Codex D includes verse 13, and refers to sixty stadia as the distance between Jerusalem and the village, but instead of naming the village Emmaus, its name, in this particular manuscript, is Oulammaous.  (Notice the verbal connection:  oul-ammaous.)
This probably represents a copyist’s guess that Emmaus was located at what is identified more commonly as Bethel.  In the Septuagint, Genesis 28:19 refers to “Oulammlous” instead of referring to Luz.  It has been suggested that this location was brought to mind because of a sort of vague correspondence between the state of mind expressed by Jacob in chapter 28 of Genesis, and the experience of the two travelers who talked unknowingly with Jesus:  “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”  Geographically, Bethel/Luz is 12 miles north of Jerusalem, too far to be 60 stadia from Jerusalem and not far enough to be 160 stadia away – but a scribe who was unaware of the geography involved could guess, based on the similarity between Emmaus and Oulammaous and Eulammaus (the name in the Latin text of Luke 24:12 in Codex D), that they were the same place.    
(Somewhere along the line, either someone miswrote Oulammaous instead of Oulammlous – writing an alpha (A) where the similar-looking lambda (Λ) belongs – or else the extant Greek copies of Genesis 28:29 have the mistake, and their lambda ought to be an alpha.  In the second century, at the end of chapter 58 of Dialogue With Trypho, as Justin Martyr quotes Genesis 28:16-19, he concludes, “And Jacob called the name of the place The House of God [i.e., Bethel], and the name of the city formerly was Ulammaus.”)
The reading ἑξήκοντα is supported by a wide array of witnesses in the early Alexandrian Text (such as P75, B, L, and 892), the Byzantine Text (Codex A and many others), the Western Text (D and the Old Latin), and the Caesarean Text (f1).  Yet the testimony for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα also appears diverse at first glance:  Sinaiticus’ text of Luke is essentially Alexandrian; N, K, and Π are mainly Byzantine; Θ and the earliest strata of the Armenian and Georgian versions are Caesarean.     
How does one account for this?

Codex Alexandrinus, New Testament fol. 41r
Here is how:  The disciple named Cleopas (identified by Hegesippus as a brother of Joseph; Epiphanius says the same thing) had a house in Nicopolis, but Emmaus – perhaps the site known today as El-Qubeibeh or another site at Abu Ghosh – was only a stop on the way there.  The two travelers’ plan had been to travel to Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and stay overnight before continuing on to Nicopolis the next day, before Jesus appeared to them. 
After the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-136), a tradition survived to the effect that Cleopas had resided in Nicopolis.  His house was still there.  In the early 200s, Julius Africanus was among those who assumed that Cleopas’ house was one and the same as the place where Jesus blessed the bread with Cleopas and his fellow-traveler.  This led to another assumption, specifically, that scribes had miscopied the number of stadia between Jerusalem and Emmaus in Luke 24:13, by skipping the first letter of ἑκατὸν and jumping to the first letter of ἑξήκοντα. 
It was not easy for Christians who were aware of the existence of Cleopas’ house in Nicopolis to defend the reading ἑξήκοντα, inasmuch as when one assumes that Emmaus and Nicopolis are the same place, ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα fits the geography much better.  For this reason, we see support for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα in compositions by persons who lived in or near Jerusalem and Nicopolis (and in compositions by other persons familiar with those earlier compositions) – writers who would have the opportunity to see Cleopas’ house in Nicopolis.  Because they assumed that Nicopolis was Emmaus, it seemed to them that the distance recorded by Luke had to be 160 stadia.
To sum up:  in the witnesses for ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα, we see the influence of an awareness that Cleopas’ house was in Nicopolis.  This awareness had elicited the assumption (promoted in the first half of the 200s by Julius Africanus, and by Origen, who also advocated readings in Matthew 8:28 (and parallels) and John 1:28 that cleared up puzzling geographic questions) that Emmaus and Nicopolis were the same place.  Most copyists were content to mechanically copy their exemplars, but it would be difficult for copyists who had visited Jerusalem and Nicopolis, or who had read, from a respected author, that Nicopolis was Emmaus and that it was one hundred and sixty stadia away from Jerusalem, to produce manuscripts that said that Emmaus was only sixty stadia from Jerusalem. 
The scribes of Codex Sinaiticus, very probably working in Caesarea in the mid-300s, almost certainly knew Eusebius’ Onomasticon and its reference to Emmaus as Nicopolis.  In light of the marginal note in minuscules 34 and 194, it seems likely that Eusebius perpetuated rather than originated a conjecture that ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα must be the true reading – after all, there were 160 stadia between Jerusalem and Cleopas’ house in Nicopolis, not just 60. 
The reading ἑκατὸν ἑξήκοντα should be considered a tremor of textual instability with Eusebius’ Onomasticon (echoing Origen’s reasonable but incorrect assumption) at its epicenter.  Copyists who encountered Eusebius’ claim to the effect that Emmaus and Nicopolis were the same place – or the same claim in the writings of Jerome, Sozomen, et al – would likely be tempted to alter the text of Luke 24:13 so as to make it match up with what they thought was a geographical fact.  Most copyists, however, if they ever felt such a temptation, successfully resisted it, content to simply reproduce the text of the exemplar that was given to them.  

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